Johnny English (taglined in some countries as "Little Brother of James Bond") is a 2003 spy action comedy film directed by Peter Howitt and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and William Davies. It is a British-American venture produced by StudioCanal and Working Title Films, and distributed by Universal Pictures.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Howitt|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan|
|Written by||Neal Purvis|
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Edited by||Robin Sales|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Country||United Kingdom |
|Box office||$160.5 million|
Starring Rowan Atkinson in the title role, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller and John Malkovich, it is the first instalment of the Johnny English film series and serves as a parody/homage to the spy genre, mainly the James Bond film series as well as Atkinson's Mr. Bean character. The character is also related to Atkinson's bumbling spy character from a series of adverts in the United Kingdom for Barclaycard in the 1990s.
Released theatrically in the United States on 18 July 2003, the film met with mixed reviews from critics but was commercially successful, having grossed $160 million worldwide against a budget of $40 million. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2003 and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being overtaken by X2. Due to its commercial success, it was followed by two sequels, Johnny English Reborn and Johnny English Strikes Again, in 2011 and 2018, respectively.
Johnny English is a kindhearted but inept MI7 employee, working a desk job while dreaming of being their most trusted agent. After Agent One dies in a submarine accident unknowingly caused by English, the remaining agents are killed by a bombing at Agent One's funeral, again due to English's incompetence, leaving English as the lone surviving agent capable of finishing Agent One’s mission.
Assigned to thwart a plot to steal the newly restored Crown Jewels, English meets the mysterious Lorna Campbell at the jewels’ unveiling at the Tower of London. During a sudden blackout, the jewels are stolen. In the chaotic aftermath, English accidentally knocks out the deputy head of security and pretends to fight an imaginary "assailant" to cover his mistakes; he makes up a false description of the suspect to MI7 head Pegasus.
English and his assistant Angus Bough discover the jewels were removed via a hole dug beneath their display case. Following the tunnel, they confront the German thieves Dieter Klein and Klaus Vendetta, who escape in a hearse. After pursuing the wrong hearse, English gatecrashes a funeral. Bough comes to his rescue, pretending English is an escaped mental patient and posing as a doctor from the "Lunatic Response Unit".
English connects the thieves to Pascal Sauvage, a French prison entrepreneur who helped restore the jewels. Pegasus finds English’s claims absurd and warns English not to involve Sauvage. In the car park, English and Bough are attacked by Vendetta but are unharmed. English again encounters Campbell in a YO! Sushi restaurant, recognizing her pink motorcycle. Having seen her at two crime scenes, English’s suspicions deepen when her records cannot be found on any government computer.
English and Bough parachute into Sauvage's headquarters, but English mistakenly lands on an identical tower, the City Hospital. Reaching the correct building, the two learn that Sauvage, a descendant of Charles Edward Stuart, plans to make himself king, using an impostor to impersonate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Campbell arrives, revealed to be an Interpol agent tracking Sauvage. With evidence of Sauvage's involvement, English crashes a reception hosted by Sauvage but is suspended by Pegasus for his clumsy actions.
Sauvage scraps his plan to use the fake Archbishop and instead sends his minions to force Queen Elizabeth II to abdicate by threatening her corgis, causing the entire line of succession to be swept clean for Sauvage to become king. Campbell, now placed in charge of the assignment by Pegasus, visits the depressed English and convinces him to travel with her to Sauvage's French château to investigate. Eavesdropping on Sauvage's meeting with internationally renowned criminals, English and Campbell learn he plans to transform all of England into the world's biggest prison. The agents are exposed when English accidentally activates a microphone, and they are taken prisoner.
Bough rescues English and Campbell and they race to stop Sauvage's coronation. English crashes the coronation and discovers the Archbishop in attendance is genuine. Undeterred, English orders Bough to play the incriminating DVD, only to find it is footage of himself lip-syncing to ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know" in his underclothes; Sauvage had bugged English's flat. Sneaking away, English swings in to steal St. Edward’s Crown from the Archbishop. Sauvage attempts to kill English, who drops the crown. However, English falls from the wire, lands on the throne, and is crowned instead; the laws of succession mean English is now technically the King of England. In his singular act as king, English has Sauvage arrested and restores the Queen to the throne, simply requesting a knighthood as a reward.
Sauvage is sentenced to death for high treason, while English and Campbell drive to southern France for a romantic holiday, only for English to accidentally eject her out of his car while leaning in to kiss her. In a mid-credits scene, Lorna lands in a hotel swimming pool, where Bough is vacationing alongside a man identical to the fictitious assailant English described to Pegasus.
- Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English
- Ben Miller as Angus Bough, English's partner in the field
- John Malkovich as Pascal Edward Sauvage, the main antagonist, the distant descendant of James II
- Natalie Imbruglia as Lorna Campbell, an INTERPOL agent
- Oliver Ford Davies as the Archbishop of Canterbury
- Tim Pigott-Smith as Pegasus
- Kevin McNally as the Prime Minister
- Douglas McFerran as Klaus Vendetta
- Steve Nicolson as Dieter Klein
- Greg Wise as Agent One
- Tim Berrington as Roger
- Prunella Scales as Queen Elizabeth II
- Tasha de Vasconcelos as Countess Alexandra
- Nina Young as Pegasus' Secretary
- Sam Beazley as Elderly Man at the Hospital
- Kevin Moore as Doctor
- Jack Raymond as French Reception Waiter
- Jenny Galloway as the Foreign Secretary
- Chris Tarrant as Radio DJ
- Trevor McDonald as Newsreader
In March 2000, before the release of Maybe Baby, Atkinson signed up to star as a spoof 007, with the news becoming official.
In July 2002, Johnny English principal photography commenced . The film shot for fourteen weeks, filming at Shepperton Studios, on location in London and St. Albans, and finally setting down in Monte Carlo for two days to complete filming the final scene. In September 2002, it was announced that Natalie Imbruglia, who wrote the theme tune for Johnny English, would star alongside Atkinson.
The character of Johnny English himself is based on a similar character called Richard Latham, who Atkinson played in a series of British television advertisements for Barclaycard. The character of Bough (pronounced 'Boff') was retained from the advertisements though another actor, Henry Naylor, played the part in the ads. Some of the gags from the advertisements made it into the film, including English incorrectly identifying a waiter, and inadvertently shooting himself with a tranquilizer ballpoint pen.
- Some scenes were filmed at Canary Wharf in London—indeed, the film duplicates the single real tower into two identical ones (albeit on the real site) for the fictional London Hospital and Sauvage's headquarters at 1 Canada Square.
- The scenes set in Westminster Abbey were filmed in St. Albans Abbey: though this connection is solely implied through the dialogue—for this footage is never intercut with footage of the real abbey's exterior. The interior (with the televisual screen hiding the St Albans organ) is clearly St Albans. The choir singing in the coronation scene is St Albans Cathedral Choir.
- Both the exteriors and interiors in the opening credits sequence scene are in Mentmore Towers.
- 'Sandringham' is Hughenden Manor.
- The exterior and interior of MI7's headquarters which English enters at the start is Freemasons' Hall, London, which is also used as Thames House (the MI5 headquarters) in Spooks.
- The scenes where Johnny English drives into Dover, Kent along the A20 road (with Dover Castle in the background) and then enters the Port of Dover (with a "Dover Ferry Terminal" sign, Dover's Athol Terrace and the White Cliffs of Dover in the background) to catch a ferry to France, were all shot on location.
- The exterior of Sauvage's French château is actually the castle atop St Michael's Mount in Cornwall.
- A scene was filmed in Hong Kong.
- The scenes in Brompton Cemetery were filmed there.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 121 reviews with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A tame spy spoof that elicits infrequent chuckles." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.
All tracks were written by Edward Shearmur and performed by London Metropolitan Orchestra unless otherwise noted.
- "A Man for All Seasons" (Hans Zimmer, Robbie Williams) – Robbie Williams
- "Theme from Johnny English" (Howard Goodall)
- "Russian Affairs"
- "A Man of Sophistication"
- "Kismet" (Written by Gay-Yee Westerhoff) – Bond
- "Truck Chase"
- "The Only Ones" – Moloko
- "Parachute Drop"
- "Pascal's Evil Plan"
- "Theme from Johnny English (Salsa Version)" (Howard Goodall) – Bond
- "Off the Case"
- "Cafe Conversation"
- "Into Pascal's Lair"
- "Zadok the Priest" – Handel
- "Does Your Mother Know" – ABBA
- "For England"
- "Riviera Highway"
- "Agent No. 1"
Johnny English was released on VHS on 11 August 2003 and on DVD on 13 January 2004, The film was released on Blu-ray on 28 February 2012, along with its sequel Johnny English Reborn. The film was released on Netflix in February 2016.
A sequel, titled Johnny English Reborn, was released in October 2011. In September 2010, filming for the sequel began, seven years after the release of the original, and concluded in March 2011. The film follows Johnny English, now training in Asia after being disgraced in an earlier mission, as he attempts to foil a plot to assassinate the Chinese Premier, while a mole is found in "MI7" and English has to deal with being framed.
In May 2017, it was announced that pre-production had begun on a third film titled, Johnny English Strikes Again, which was released on 5 October 2018.
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a comedy film of 1997 similarly lampooning the spy genre
- "Johnny English (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
- Lemire, Christy (21 October 2011). "Film review: 'Johnny English' fires wildly, but mostly misses comic targets". Deseret News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Weekend box office 11th April 2003 - 13th April 2003". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- "Weekend box office 18th April 2003 - 20th April 2003". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- "Weekend box office 25th April 2003 - 27th April 2003". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- "Rowan Atkinson to star as spoof 007". theguardian.com. 2 March 2000. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "Johnny English - Production Notes". contactmusic.com. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Natalie Imbruglia Takes On Hollywood". cinema.com. 20 September 2002. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- Stuart Heritage (13 April 2011). "Johnny English Reborn: I spy with my little eye …". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- "Johnny English (2003)". British Film Locations. 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- "Johnny English filming locations". UK Onscreen. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- "Hughenden Manor". National Trust. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Johnny English Film Focus".
- "Johnny English Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Johnny English Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Johnny English (2003), retrieved 15 November 2018
- "DVDs Release Dates - Latest Info on New DVD Releases". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
- MaFt.co.uk, Johnny English (2003) on Netflix USA :: New On Netflix USA, retrieved 15 November 2018
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